Welcome to a practical guide for higher
education employees facing the complexities of retirement planning. Greg
Shepard, a seasoned financial expert specializing in assisting individuals in
higher education, recently addressed the common concerns surrounding retirement
plans. In this blog post, we'll delve deeper into his insights and
recommendations, providing you with a roadmap to simplify your retirement plan
choices upon separation of service.
Understanding the Overwhelming Transition
Many higher education employees find themselves in a state of
anxiety and confusion as they approach retirement. The transition from a steady
job to managing a lump sum of retirement savings can be overwhelming. Greg
Shepard recognizes this anxiety and offers a few grounding insights:
a Breath: It's essential to take
a step back, breathe, and recognize that you have options.
Main Options: Greg outlines three
primary retirement plan choices:
Exploring Your Retirement Plan Options
1. Doing it Yourself: While it's possible to manage your retirement plan independently,
Greg highlights that it might be late in the game for many individuals who are
new to financial planning. It's crucial to understand the intricacies of
investments, income generation, and managing expenses.
2. Using TIAA or Fidelity: Greg acknowledges that these are significant players in the
higher education retirement space. However, they often encourage their in-house
investments, like lifetime income annuities for TIAA Traditional participants.
While this isn't necessarily bad, it's essential to be aware that these
companies might not explore opportunities outside their offerings.
3. Hiring an Independent Investment Advisor: Greg's specialization is in this area, and he
emphasizes the benefits of seeking a financial advisor with expertise in higher
education retirement plans. Independent advisors can offer customized
solutions, combining various investment options for maximum benefit. While
there's a cost associated with their services, the potential for a more
tailored and advantageous retirement plan can be worth it.
Understanding Costs and Trust
Every choice comes with costs, and Greg emphasizes the need to
understand these costs thoroughly:
Ratios: These are associated
with every investment, and it's crucial to comprehend how they impact your
Fees: If you opt for an
independent advisor, there will be fees involved. It's essential to have full
transparency regarding these charges.
Factor: Trust plays a significant
role in your decision-making process. Many employees have long-standing
relationships with their retirement plan providers. This trust can influence
your choice significantly.
The Role of Performance
Greg reassures that, in today's financial industry, investments
have become quite standardized. Most advisors can offer similar investment
options. Therefore, performance alone is not a significant differentiator.
What truly matters are the plan's logistics, costs, and the trust
you have in your advisor or plan provider.
Conclusion: Make Retirement Simple
Retirement planning should be a stress-less endeavor. Many higher
education employees, even those capable of handling their finances, opt to
enlist professional help to reduce stress during this critical life transition.
In summary, Greg Shepard's insights encourage employees in higher
education to approach retirement planning with a clear head. Understand your
options, assess costs, and, most importantly, choose a plan that aligns with
your financial goals, your trust in the provider, and your comfort level.
Retirement should be a time of relaxation and enjoyment, not a source of
anxiety. If you're unsure, seek advice from professionals who specialize in
higher education retirement plans to ensure you're on the right path toward a
Contact Information: If you have questions or need assistance with your retirement
plan choices, you can reach out to Greg Shepard at firstname.lastname@example.org
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*Nothing discussed in this blog post should be construed as investment advice. Each situation is unique and you need to receive professional advice from independent fee-only financial advisor that's familiar with higher ed retirement plans prior to implementing any strategies discussed or thought of on your own.
**S&A Financial Services, Inc. is a registered investment advisor. Content presented is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or as an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Always consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding your specific situation.